How Many Words Is This Picture Worth?

Although the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and its musicians returned to mediated bargaining at the beginning of the month, those talks have yet to produce enough momentum to prevent additional event cancellations. Case in point, the organization announced the latest round of cancellations for events through Monday, 12/5/2016.

Since both sides agreed to a media blackout, there are few details but the 11/15/2016 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article by Elizabeth Bloom which reports both sides have confirmed that negotiations are ongoing.

The articles reuses what may be one of the best photos to come out of a work stoppage (yet). It features PSO principal oboist Cindy DeAlmeida on the picket line casting a gaze at PSO president and CEO, Melia Peters Tourangeau, that could perhaps be described in polite terms as “steely.”


It’s wonderful to see the increasingly lost art of photojournalism put to such good use. Kudos to Nate Guidry for capturing the moment.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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